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Mircea Eliade - Yakut beliefs on death



Type of spiritual experience

A description of the experience

Mircea Eliade – Shamanism Archaic techniques of ecstasy

The funerary geography of the Central and North Asian peoples is quite complex, since it has been constantly contaminated by the invasion of religious ideas of southern origin.  The dead set out either to the north or to the west.  But we also find the conception that the good go up to the sky and the wicked descend underground (for example among the Tatars of the Altai), however, this moral evaluation of post mortem itineraries appears to be a fairly late innovation.  The Yakut believe that at death both good and bad go up to the sky, where the soul takes the form of a bird.  Presumably the ‘soul birds’ perch on the branches of the World Tree.

The source of the experience

Siberian shamanism

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image